Emily Files

Education Reporter

Emily became WUWM’s Education Reporter in August 2018 after spending four years in small-town Alaska.

She began as a reporter for KRBD in Ketchikan, where she once covered a bear interrupting a high school cross country race. She then worked as a reporter and eventually news director at KHNS Radio in Haines, where she reported on a man in a bear costume harassing actual bears. Aside from the occasional bear story, Emily covered the local politics, tribal issues, hunting, fishing and, of course, education.

Emily is originally from the Chicago area. She studied journalism at Emerson College in Boston, where she reported her very first radio stories for college station WERS. She interned at NPR’s Weekend Edition, The Boston Globe and PRI’s The World. Emily’s work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Marketplace, NPR’s Only a Game, and The World.

Ways to Connect

Michelle Maternowski / WUWM

Updated Monday 6:18 p.m. CST

The Wauwatosa Police Department is releasing additional details about the investigation into the shooting at Mayfair Mall on Friday. Eight people were injured, and a 15-year-old Hispanic teen was taken into custody Saturday night.

Emily Files / WUWM

It’s become common in Wisconsin for school districts to go directly to voters to ask for increased property tax funding. These school referendums have seen high approval rates in recent years.

You might think that the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic devastation would reverse the trend, but that is not what has happened this year.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 2:31 p.m. CST

As Wisconsin enters the holiday season grappling with its most severe coronavirus spread yet, schools continue to make varied decisions about whether to teach in-person or virtually.

The statewide teachers’ union wants that to change. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is asking the state for uniform rules about when schools should close.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Considers Mask Mandate Challenge

Nov 16, 2020
Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Updated 3:01 p.m. CST

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that could affect Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency powers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emily Files / WUWM

Update 11/19 1:35 p.m.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is asking the state supreme court to block the city of Racine's order closing schools. The conservative law firm is representing School Choice Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, and a handful of Racine private schools that are beholden to the order, include Racine Christian School and Racine Lutheran High School. 

Emily Files / WUWM

This fall, Wisconsin public schools reported unprecedented enrollment declines — particularly in the youngest grades. Four-year-old kindergarten, also known as pre-kindergarten, shrunk by more than 8,000 students statewide, a 16% decline. Regular kindergarten enrollment is down by about 3,000, a 5% decline.

>>Kindergarten Enrollment Plummets In Wisconsin Amid Pandemic

Emily Files / WUWM

Wisconsin State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor is calling for a $1.4 billion education funding increase over the next two school years.

The Department of Public Instruction released its budget ask Monday night. It would restore the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of school districts’ expenses. And it would put more money toward special education, mental health, students living in poverty, and English learners.

Courtesy of Georgia State University

Four southeast Wisconsin colleges have made an ambitious pledge: to close racial and income-based graduation gaps within the next 10 years.

Emily Files / WUWM

The about 70,000 students enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools will continue with virtual learning for the foreseeable future.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Emily Files / WUWM

On the first day of in-person early voting in Milwaukee this week, UWM roommates Juan Escutia and Max Markowitz stood in an about 20-person line on campus to cast their ballots. Both are 18, so this was their first time voting for president.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 10/22 4:52 p.m.  

Four southeast Wisconsin schools are pledging to close racial and income gaps in college graduation by 2030.

UWM, MATC, UW-Parkside, and Carthage College are the first regional collective to join a national initiative from D.C.-based education firm EAB. The initiative is called Moon Shot for Equity.

COURTESY NAOSHI JOHNSON, JEREMIAH BAEZ AND MOO KO WAH

Back in April, WUWM talked with three Milwaukee high school seniors about how their college plans were made more uncertain by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the new school year is underway, we checked in with them to see how their plans panned out.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 4:17 p.m. CT

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on school enrollment in Wisconsin – especially in the youngest grades.

Public schools lost about 25,000 students, or a 3% enrollment decline. That’s compared to roughly 0.5% declines the past two years. The biggest drop is in 4-year-old kindergarten. 4K numbers fell by about 16% this fall. Regular kindergarten enrollment fell by about 5%.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 4:38 p.m. CT

The mother and sisters of a Black teen who was killed by a suburban Milwaukee police officer were arrested by officers who were cracking down on protesters out after a curfew following a decision not to charge the officer.

Alvin Cole's mother, Tracy Cole, and his sisters Taleavia and Tristiana Cole were arrested Thursday night, their attorney Kimberley Motley said Friday. Motley said Tracy Cole was injured during the arrest.

Emily Files / WUWM

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was in Waukesha Thursday to talk with families who are unhappy with virtual learning and have switched their children to different schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

School choice – or providing alternatives to traditional public schools – is a central part of DeVos’ platform. At the Waukesha roundtable event, DeVos said the pandemic has made the case for school choice even stronger.

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